Committee: 6th WHO

Topic: Tackling Organ Trafficking and Illegal Transplantation

Country: Romania

Delegate Name: Melpomeni Tani

   Organ Trafficking has become an expanded organized crime due to the thriving demand of human organs and tissues. In spite of all efforts made by the World Health Organization (WHO), traffickers remain to intervene the legislation, which is performing illegal transplantations at hospitals or other places. Even though WHO has discussed this issue for years, not many feasible and effective solutions have appeared in the field. This matter constitutes a rapidly increasing danger in our community for decades, and mostly impinges upon more vulnerable groups, like children or women especially those living in developing countries. Although organ transplantation has prolonged and improved people’s lives, there is a widespread shortage of donors, which is the main factor for this cluster of crimes. On the other hand, people who wait for a transplant have to be enlisted for a very long time. Thus, Black market, in the 21st century has become the convenient resource to gain money for people living in extreme poverty.

   Τhe World Health Assembly unveiled its concern in respect of trafficking in organs and the need of global standards for transplantation In Resolution WHA40.13. The resolution was adopted by the 40th World Health Assembly in May 1987, while Resolution WHA42.5 that was pointing out on staving off the purchase and sale of human organs was adopted by the 42nd World Health Assembly in May 1989. In reception to these resolutions, the World Health Assembly in 1991 adopted Resolution WHA44.25 came to terms with a set of Guiding Principles on Human Organ Transplantation. These Guiding Principles – whose precedence include voluntary donation, non-commercialization, genetic relation of recipients to donors and a preference for deceased over living donors as sources – have considerably influenced professional codes, legislation and policies.

         In Romania Law No. 39 of 21 January 2003 on preventing and combating organized crime provides for the imposition of a prison sentence of from three to seven years for organizing or carrying out the removal or transplantation of human tissues or organs for profit-making purposes. Since 2006, when the National Transplant Agency was founded, The number of organ transplants carried out in Romania has risen dramatically, at the fastest rate of increase in Europe It has increased by 30%, which means that many human lives have been saved in the past years. Romanians have understood that organ donation means saving lives. This shows openness and readiness to accept the donation and transplantation of organs without neglecting, however, ethical issues involving consent and the responsibility of the decision to donate organs.  And this belief puts Romania in the list of countries with the highest number of organ transplants performed.

While organ donation is a controversial issue because it touches upon sensitive and ethical issues related to death, the delegation of Romania considers that this subject merits discussion on both a national and international basis due to the fact that there is a dire need of awareness and education in our society. This is because every individual is a potential donor, or may be involved in the decision whether to donate or not a relative's organs.

According to the Declaration of Istanbul (DOI) ‘organ transplantation can be counted among the medical miracles of the twentieth century, in that it has prolonged and improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of patients worldwide. Therefore, we must all be motivated by DOI and consider once again effective measures to combat and prevent the trafficking in organs in their domestic countries and raising awareness amongst their members. We must establish legal organ markets, at least for kidneys which are mostly on demand.  This way, the quality of transplants is guaranteed and both donors and recipients are benefited. We must work hard to develop legal and ethical policy frameworks to be able to tackle trafficking in organs in its different forms, and find a suitable criminal justice response to disrupt and curb this global threat. Another approach to the prevention of trafficking in organs should be to provide information concerning the potential risks of commercial transplants and the danger of serious health problems that can be caused. This calls for better awareness-raising and educational programs in potential target populations (young, unemployed, impoverished). Better cooperation with national and international NGOs (e.g. IOM) is certainly needed to get these education programs off the ground.

Last but not least raising public awareness and knowledge of the positive aspects of organ donation and transplantation should be a continuous effort.

   Donating organs is an act of humanitarianism and we must assure that this action of human kindness is not misused. We should support these principles in order to maintain life. Profit is not always a gain.